USS Tangier (AV-8) History
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...This Is No Drill - Naval Aviation News - November-December 1991..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1991/nd91.pdf [25OCT2004]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...A few pictures from my Dad's collection. Many were taken while serving aboard the USS Tangier (AV-8) (1942-1945). Dad would really enjoy hearing from former shipmates..." Contributed by CANNIZZARO, SN John R. c/o Andrew Cannizzaro email@example.com [05OCT2017]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Currituck (AV-7) and USS Tangier (AV-8) "...USS Currituck (AV-7) (top) and USS Tangier (AV-8) moored together at Morotai in October 1944 during operations in support of the Leyte Gulf landings..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller firstname.lastname@example.org [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Tangier (AV-8) "...The USS TANGIER (AV 8) at Noumea, New Caledonia in April 1942. A PBY Catalina can be seen on the aft deck just forward of the large crane..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller email@example.com [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S.S. TANGIER (AV8) - January 2, 1942..." http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/logs/AV/av8-Pearl.html[10JAN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Tangier (AV-8) 25AUG41 Contributed by John Lucas firstname.lastname@example.org [17JUN2003]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Personal account while assigned to the USS Tangier (AV-8) from 08MAY41 to 12DEC42 by PHILLIPS, CPO Jack O. Retired email@example.com..."[17MAR2001]
The first crew on a newly commissioned ship are called "plank owners". The Tangier was built to be a Sea Plane Tender and was placed in full commission August 15, 1941. The ship was 492 feet long, 12,510 tons with a speed of 16.5 knots. With the commissioning ceremonies over and the crew assembled, the ship was ready for a shakedown cruise. That's to see if everything works before going to active duty.
We departed Oakland August 29, 1941 and the shakedown cruise lasted until October 28, 1941. During the shakedown we visited Seattle, Wash., Bremerton, Wash., San Diego and San Pedro, Calif.
We left San Pedro and headed West into the great Pacific ocean. We arrived at Pearl Harbor, TH (Territory of Hawaii) Nov. 3, 1941. We tied up at Ford Island just aft the USS Utah, an old battleship.
I went ashore a couple of times to Honolulu. One of the times a friend and I rented a box camera at the YMCA and went out to Waikiki beach. At that time there was not much development on the beach. Two hotels - one of them, The Royal Hawaiian - were the only hotels there (that I remember). Now there are dozens of hotels.
We took some pictures then and got the pictures back the following Saturday, December 6, 1941.
I was looking at the pictures on Sunday morning when general quarters sounded. The klaxon and orders for "all hands man your battle stations" was given.
I went to my battle station which was top side on the very stern of the ship. The USS Utah was just aft of us.
When I arrived top side and started back to my battle station I was startled by a very low-lying plane right across us. I could see the pilot and I could see the rising sun insignia under each wing.
The first of the Jap planes (yes, we called them Japs) passed along our portside and then later right over us. (this is the one I saw when I first went top side). Our ship opened fire immediately and it is the impression of most that the Tangier was the first ship at Pearl to open fire at almost exactly 0800. Almost immediately, three torpedo planes came in on our starboard quarter heading south and dropped their torpedoes at the USS Utah. We could not tell if all the torpedoes hit the Utah. Two definitely did and the third, I think, went between the Tangier stern and the Utah stern. Very soon the USS Raleigh was hit causing her to sink down by the stern where she held steady. About this time the Utah sank bottom up.
Almost immediately the Arizona exploded and the smoke was dense coming over us.
All this time I was at my useless battle station on the stern. My official battle station was designated as "sky look out". It was of no value but did afford me a terrific view of the attack.
On either side of me was a 3-inch 23 caliber gun. It was manually loaded one shell at a time. About 200 rounds were fired during the attack. My ears probably have never been the same as the noise was humongous.
"Battleship Row" on the other side of Ford Island was an unbelievable disaster. All the battleships were either sunk entirely or badly damaged.
About 8:45 a submarine was sighted off our starboard bow about 300 yards out. One of our 3-inch AA guns (3"/50cal) fired six shots at it and probably hit it.
From about 8:50 on the Japanese planes made deliberate bombing attacks on the Tangier. We shot off the tail of a Jap plane just as it passed ahead and to our starboard. At about 8:55 we shot down another plane. About this time the USS Curtiss (another seaplane tender) took a direct hit by a bomb and caught fire. A destroyer came down between the Tangier and Curtiss and dropped depth charges on the submarine we had sighted earlier.
About 9:10, a third wave of about 30 or so planes came over.
At about this time we riddled another Jap plane that came up our port side. The engine caught fire, the part of the fuselage forward of the pilot burst into flame. The pilot still had some control of his plane and deliberately crashed his plane into the Curtiss which had already taken a bomb hit.
So much was going on so fast that the mind was boggled. Up until about 9:00 we had been pretty well ignored by the Jap planes. Thick smoke from the burning Arizona was drifting across us and partially concealed us. I don't think we were primary targets until about 9:10. From about 9:10 to 9:20 five bombs from five different planes were launched at the Tangier. One bomb dropped on Ford Island off our port bow. The other four planes dropped their bombs from about 300 feet. All four fortunately were close misses. I could watch the bombs from the time of release until they missed, however, they all looked like they were going to hit us and I was surprised that they all were close misses.
The ship didn't completely escape unharmed but our damage was slight. Only three men on deck were struck by fragments and they were not hurt badly.
After about 9:20 no more planes came near the Tangier.
That night some of our own planes came in and we thought they were Japs. Unfortunately we shot down some of our own.
The following few days were spent getting ready to go to war. We loaded the Tangier with Marines, bombs, ammo. radars and all manner of items.
Admiral Kimmel's last order before being relieved of his command was to send out the first Westward Naval Sally of the war.
Wake Island was under attack from Dec. 8 and was eventually overwhelmed Dec. 23, 1941.
The first Westward Naval Sally of the war was an attempt to relieve Wake Island.
Fate came close to making a possible graveyard for the Tangier. The Westward Sally of ships was designated Task Force 14. Tangier and fleet oiler Neches (as they were slow) started west one day before the rest of the Task Force. The Neches was a 1920 vessel and got a maximum of 12 knots.
The Tangier departed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 13, 1941 with a relief force of several hundred Marines of the Fourth Defense Battalion and among the items we also carried were two radars, 21,000 3-inch and 5-inch shells, three million machine gun rounds, barbed wire, etc., etc.
The day after the Tangier and Neches deported the rest of Task Force 14 left and quickly caught up with us. The Saratoga was the Task Force Aircraft Carrier.
The mission of this Task Force was to deliver supplies, reinforcements and aircraft to Wake Island.
The Saratoga was to remain out of range of the Jap planes.
The Task Force was to arrive at Wake Island On Dec. 23, 1941.
Disembarkation and unloading at Wake was going to be a huge problem at best or impossible at worst. Troops and supplies from the Tangier would have to be lightered in (taken in by boat). If the Tangier was badly damaged during the tedious process of unloading, it was ordered that the Tangier would be run aground to ensure the delivery of the vital cargo.
On Dec. 22 we were about 500 plus miles from Wake and the situation at Wake was most urgent. It was learned that enemy carriers were operating to the northwest of Wake. Admiral Fletcher felt that the fuel supply of the ships was inadequate for a fight near Wake. He ordered refueling of the ships from the Neches. The Pacific swell was rather large causing the breakage of several fuel lines. This, of course, slowed down the whole operation. Because of the shape of our Navy at that time the powers that be questioned whether to risk losing what was left of our Navy.
As a compromise measure it was decided to send the Tangier to Wake by herself. But before the Admiral could execute this hazardous decision (which would have spelled destruction for the Tangier) Wake Island garrison surrendered to the Japs. Task Force 14 was recalled to Pearl Harbor and the Tangier was not sacrificed at Wake. We were diverted to Midway instead to leave the Marines we were carrying plus the equipment that was meant for Wake. At Midway we also picked up civilians and took them back to Pearl Harbor.
In 1941 I had two Christmas eves. We were west of the 180th meridian on Dec. 24, 1941, we then returned east over the 180th meridian where again we had a Dec. 24, 1941.
On Dec. 31, 1941 we arrived back at Pearl Harbor.
We stayed in Pearl Harbor until early February 1942. We loaded aviation gasoline (250,000 gals), bombs, torpedoes, a lot of Army gear and soldiers and civilians as passengers. Feb. 14, 1942 we put out to sea headed south. Our only escort was a tin can (destroyer) but it had left us.
We were alone making our way to somewhere in the South Pacific
On Feb. 15, we crossed the equator. I became a "Shellback". We didn't have the traditional hazing that is common in peacetime. The war was too new.
On Feb. 18th we came into Pago Pago and stayed a day or so.
On Feb. 21, 1942 we were amongst the Fiji Islands. The scent from the islands was strong even before we anchored. This was in Suva Fiji harbor. Suva is the Capitol of Fiji. The sweet odor of vegetation was strong. As we came into the still water of the harbor there were thousands of beautifully colored jelly fish floating by the ship. Fiji was part of Colonial Great Britain. In the harbor there were only four or five ships, none of them Navy. The town was composed mainly of little white houses with red roofs. There were 3 or 4 impressive looking buildings which were probably government buildings. The natives of Fiji are black. They were very nice and friendly. In Fiji there also are many Indians (like from the country of India). I bought some souvenirs from them. We found out that there were a lot of soldiers from New Zealand there also.
Feb. 28, 1942 we raised the anchor and departed from Suva. We hit some really rough seas. On March 2, I was seasick.
March 3, 1942 we arrived in New Caledonia (a French Colony) and Numea, it's capital.
On March 4, 1942 my old squadron from North Island San Diego came aboard the Tangier. VP-14 it was. As are we, it's on an advanced base here in New Caledonia. We are to tend the PBY's of VP-14. I saw some fellows I had known in San Diego. The squadron had moved to Hawaii to Kaneohe Naval Air Station prior to the Jap attack. They had lost some people on Dec. 7 and a lot of gear too.
This really was an advanced base. There was nothing between New Caledonia and the Jap bases to the North and west of us. We expected to see them show up at any time and we, of course, would have been destroyed had that happened. New Caledonia is rich in nickel ore and would be something the Japs needed for their war materials.
On March 5 we had a big storm. A destroyer that had just arrived was dragging anchor and almost collided with us.
March 8, 1942 was very hot. We took a PBY aboard for servicing. It was the first for us. Another PBY came in from Pearl Harbor. We hoped it would have mail but it didn't. It did bring some spark plugs though.
We were very short of many items. Most of the materials were going to the European theater. We resented that (to say the least)
March 18, A large number of soldiers have come into Numea and are setting up on the island. Their gear was piled "willy nilly" on the docks and beaches. I don't know how order ever prevailed. We were glad the soldiers were here.
Don't forget that the Tangier and eight airplanes came here and took over the whole of New Caledonia. Had the Japs showed up we would have been an easy kill for them.
An English ship came along side. We opened our cold storage vaults to them.
We could hear broadcast from Australia. They sounded much like our stateside radio. I never got to Australia though, I sure wanted to as I heard the women were very friendly. We began to get mail a little more frequently and for us that was very important.
We began to hear (in early May, 1942) that the Japs were expected to attack somewhere east of Australia. We were east of Australia about 700 miles. I was told that a Jap Task Force was intercepted north of us. This was the Battle of Coral Sea.
May 8, 1942 we were equipped with a gas mask and a life jacket. We thought we were going to be hit but were not.
May 12 we heard that a great sea battle had been fought just to our North. The Lexington had been sunk. The beat up survivors of the Coral Sea battle headed for Numea. On May 12 seven destroyers and three cruisers came in from the battle. One of the destroyers had only 3000 gal. of fuel left. That's about half hour running time at full speed. Some of the ships were pretty beatup. We took aboard wounded from the battle and many Lexington survivors. Also our old side kick, the oiler Neches, had been sunk. The PBY's from the Tangier conducted search and rescue missions in the area where the battle was fought.
On May 27 some Australian and American PBY's were sent out to do some patroling and bombing of the Soloman Islands. They bombed their objective which probably was the air strip. However, only the Australian ship got back to Numea. Our planes ran out of gas. The Aussie PBY's had a bigger fuel capacity than ours. Two of the three US PBY's were destroyed at sea. The third was brought back and fixed.
June 16, 1942. We heard of the Battle of Midway but at that time did not know what a miraculous victory our ships and planes had won.
June 21, 1942. The Curtiss - the seaplane tender that received two hits on Dec. 7, 1941 - came into Numea to relieve us. We left and went to Pearl Harbor and eventually back to Oakland and Moore's dry dock. The ship needed repairs.
We arrived in Oakland, CA. We used to say "Golden Gate in 48" but we arrived in Oakland July 15, 1942 and had liberty frequently. We took advantage of every moment because we knew we were going back.
On Sept 21, 1942 we left to a place with a code name "Button". This turned out to be Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. We arrived in "Button" Oct. 21, 1942.
On Dec. 12, 1942 I was transferred off the Tangier to the USS Columbia, a light cruiser. I did not want to leave the Tangier but orders are orders. The Columbia was known also as "The Gem" - get it - the "gem of the ocean". It was also known as a Hollywood ship as it had several movie stars, sports figures, etc.on it.
The Columbia was a ship of the line, a fighting ship. It was very fast and maneuverable. We cruised mainly around and in the vicinity of Guadalcanal. We were in the Battle of Rennell Island in which we lost the Chicago and several destroyers.
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Tangier (AV-8) "...The USS TANGIER (AV 8) photographed near Mare Island in early 1941..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller firstname.lastname@example.org [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S.S. Tangier (AV8)..."The Ships and Aircraft of the U. S. Fleet - War Edition - Page 47 - 1941"...Official U. S. Navy Photo..." [24JAN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Ships Present at Pearl Harbor, 0800 7 December 1941 - USS Curtiss (AV-4) and USS Tangier (AV-8)..." http://www.usswestvirginia.org/pearl_ships_present.htm [04JAN2001]
U.S.S. TANGIER (AV8)
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
January 2, 1942
From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Raid, Air, December 7, 1941, USS Tangier (AV8) - Report on.
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, Article 212 (1).
Enclosures: (A) CO, Tangier Conf. ltr. AV8/A16-3 (O1) to Cincpac, dated January 2, 1942. (B) XO, Tangier Conf. ltr. A9/Os to CO, Tangier, dated December 11, 1941. (C) PICTURES (14) Taken during Air Raid. (omitted) (D) Chart No. 1 (Gun-fire chart). (omitted) (E) Chart No. 2 (Blank - since no Ship's Track involved). (omitted) (F) Chart No. 3 (Enemy planes seen shot down). (omitted) in compliance with reference (a) the above enclosures are forwarded herewith.
AV8/A16-3 U.S.S. TANGIER (AV8) (CAFS/ke)
Pearl Harbor, T.H., January 2, 1942.
From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Raid, Air, December 7, 1941, USS Tangier (AV8) - Report on.
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, Article 212 (1). At the time of the surprise air attack by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, this ship was berthed at F-10, NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with ship's head bearing 230° true; U.S.S. Utah moored at F-11 directly astern; U.S.S. Raleigh at F-12. All times local zone times:
0755 - Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes commenced surprise attack on Fleet and Base at Pearl Harbor, T.H.
0758 - General Quarters sounded, the first of the Japanese planes passed along port side of ship headed to Ewa, at about 400 feet, it's orange sun insignia clear, leaving no uncertainty that this was a real attack. Ship commenced firing as soon as men arrived on gun stations. Ship opened fire at 0800. It was the Commanding Officer's impression that this ship was the first to open fire or surely among the first. The first action by the Japanese planes observed, was a plane dropping bombs on the Air Station, loud explosions were first heard from Air Station where bombs were dropped on a hangar, full of PBY's, gutting the hangar. The first attack wave consisting of both dive bombers and torpedo planes, was estimated by the Commanding Officer to consist of from forty to fifty planes. The planes came in generally from 50° true, flying down NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the port side of Tangier. The only exception of this was the three torpedo planes that launched torpedoes at the Utah. these came in from the North.
At 0803 - Three torpedo planes came in on our starboard quarter heading about South and dropped their torpedoes at the USS Utah. Observers aft differ as to whether all three torpedoes hit the Utah or whether two torpedoes hit the Utah and one slide between Utah's stern and this ship's stern. The Japanese must have had the most detailed information about this harbor, for none released their torpedoes until past White Spar Buoy #1, that is in 37 feet of water.
At 0804 - U.S.S. Raleigh received bomb hit, causing her to sink down by the stern. She sank down level with her after deck and then held steady.
At 0805 - U.S.S. Arizona, West Virginia and Oklahoma hit by torpedoes or bombs or both. This ship was firing full fire at Japanese planes flying down our port side, at about 300 to 50 feet altitude. None of the planes in this first wave appeared to make any deliberate attack on Tangier. Two groups of nine planes in "V" formation could be seen flying at between 8000 to 1,000 feet, directly over Pearl Harbor. It is believed that these planes were those which made the second attack. One hit was observed on a Japanese plane at this time, in engine section and white smoke spouted from his engine as he passed over Waipio Peninsula, at low altitude.
At 0806 - Arizona exploded internally, foremast capsized, forward part of ship on fire.
At 08011 - Utah sunk bottom up.
At 0812 - Received despatch from CinCpac "Hostilities with Japan commenced with air raid on Pearl Harbor".
At 0820 - In accordance with despatch orders from CinCpacflt, made preparations for getting underway.
At 0830 - Ship ready for getting underway. The fury of the attack of the first wave of planes subsided. This ship and other ships were firing at the high altitude formation, but all bursts appeared sort and no effect on the formation or planes could be observed.
At 0833 - Received report Japanese submarine in channel.
At 0843 - Enemy submarine sighted off starboard bow, distance about 800 yards. Opened fire with #1 A.A. gun (3"/50) fired six shots. USS Curtiss also firing five inch gun at submarine. 0844 ceased firing at submarine, due to fouling of target by USS Monaghan. 0845 USS Monaghan ran over location where submarine was sighted, probably ramming it and dropped two depth charges. This was a fine piece of work and the Commanding Officer of the Monaghan, in my opinion, should be commended for an excellent and rapid action.
At 0850 - USS Nevada underway heading out channel, struck in bow by torpedo or bomb. A large explosion was heard and a pillar of smoke and flame rolled up for about two hundred feet from position occupied by Nevada. The Arizona is now violently afire, appears that oil tanks are burning. Arizona's smoke obscures damage on other battleships, forward of her.
At 0850 - Second wave of attackers started coming in. From now on the Japanese planes made deliberate bombing attacks on Tangier. Shot off tail of one Japanese plane just as he had passed abeam to starboard. This plane crashed in Middle Loch in back of Curtiss and Medusa. The plane was hit by .50 cal Machine gun bullets and the tail was shot off by the 3"50 cal forward battery. Singled up all mooring lines.
At 0855 - Riddled another Japanese plane, which went out of control and crashed on the shore line, near Beckoning Point. About this time a direct hit by bomb was observed on the USS Curtiss, 0855 - Riddled another Japanese plane, which went out of control and crashed on the shore line, near Beckoning Point. About this time a direct hit by bomb was observed on the USS Curtiss, starting a fire. Curtiss did excellent work in getting this fire out. Received from Signal Tower and by Radio another warning submarine reported sighted in North Channel. There was not as many planes in this wave, estimated about twenty seven.
At 0910 - Third was of bombing attack came in, again, about twenty seven planes. This might be delayed planes of second attack. Riddled another Japanese plane, flying up our port side, engine caught fire, then part of fuselage forward of pilot burst into flame, pilot got his plane around 90° to right and form the Commanding Officer's observation, deliberately crashed his plane into Curtiss. Plane crashed into Curtiss near after stack, into boat crane and A.A. gun station and started a good size fire.
At 0913-0920 - Five bombs were dropped by five different planes at tangier, one bomb dropping on NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii off our port bow, the pilot of this plane did not press home his attack as the other pilots did and dropped short before turning away. The other four planes dropped their bombs from about three hundred feet in a shallow dive. Al four were fortunately, very close misses: two forward, one about fifteen feet off the starboard side and one about twenty feet off; two aft, about twenty and forty feet off. The Commanding Officer could observe the bombs forward from the time of release until they missed. At the time he felt sure they were going to be hits and was surprised that after they missed that there was no more damage to the ship than what took place. A dull thud was felt throughout the ship and I ascribe it to the fact that the bombs must have buried themselves in the mud, which muffled the force of the explosion. They appeared to be about 250-350 pounders. No plane dropped more than one bomb and no two planes dropped at the same time. The ship was struck in forty-two (42) places by bomb fragments, none serious. One piece struck window in pilot house, which fortunately was splinter proof glass and prevented glass from flying about. Only two fragments had sufficient force to penetrate ht side of the ship. Inspection below indicated no penetration below the water line. three men about deck were struck by fragments, but received only superficial wounds. SHINN, Garland Harriss, SC2c, USN., attached to USS McFarland, serving confinement sentence, wound lacerated, left thigh. WELLS, Russel Glen, #316-49-01, SF2c., USN., wound lacerated, left thigh. SOLTIS, Frank Anthony, #341-65-65, SF1c, USN., wound abrasion neck and right ear. Hits were observed from our gun fire on two more planes and it is entirely possible that these planes were forced to land, in that area between Pearl and Barber's point. This should be investigated. I definitely observed three planes, struck many times by our gun fire and saw the three planes crash, as reported above. No more planes came near Tangier after 0920.
This ship expended the following ammunition:
217 rounds of 3" 50 cal. (Fwd Battery).
198 round of 3" 23 cal. (Aft Battery).
23,000 rounds of 50 cal. Machine Gun.
The conduct of the officers and crew was excellent throughout. The gun crews performed praiseworthily. The equipment worked without any casualty. Boatswain Wesley L. LARSON, USN., should be commended for his quick reaction and grasp of the situation, in his capacity as Officer-of-the-Deck, when the unexpected attack took place.
U.S.S. TANGIER (AV8)Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
December 11, 1941
December 11, 1941
From: The Executive Officer.
To: The Commanding Officer.
Subject: Report of engagement between USS Tangier (AV8) and Japanese airplanes on December 7, 1941.
Reference: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulations 1920.
The following report is submitted in accordance with reference (a).
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Tangier (AV8) was moored to the finger piers of berth F-19, port side toward NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Berth F-9 ahead was unoccupied. Directly astern in berth F-11 was the Utah, headed away from the Tangier. The Raleigh was in berth F-12, ahead of the Utah. Ahead of the Raleigh was the Detroit in berth F-13. All of the above berths are on the Northeast, or Pearl City side of NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
At 0755 on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese single engine airplanes began bombing the Naval Air Station, pearl Harbor, on the south side of NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Tangier (AV8) immediately went to General Quarters. Fire with all guns was opened shortly before 0800 on hostile single engine low wing monoplane torpedo planes attacking the Utah, Raleigh and Tangier from the north. The Utah was hit by torpedoes on the port side and turned Turtle almost immediately. The Raleigh was also apparently hit on the port side and took a list to port. The Tangier was undamaged, although a torpedo was reported to have passed just clear of stern. At least five torpedo planes made drops in succession near the white spar buoy at the north side of the channel. The spar buoy was used as a dropping point. No apparent damage was done to the torpedo planes as they all turned right and retired at low altitude over Pearl City to the north. So far as is know the tangier was the first ship to open fire on the enemy.
After the torpedo attack there was a slight lull which was used to check all watertight doors, hatches, ports and fire hose. Damage control parties, ammunition supply, and belting parties where checked and redistribution of personnel made where necessary to eliminate bottle necks. Due to the previous attention to details practically no changes were made except to use the 5"-51 caliber gun crew and ammunition supply party to augment the 3" and .50 caliber machine gun ammunition and belting parties. The 5"-51 caliber gun not being an A.A. gun was of no value to us and the personnel were required as indicated above. During this time our boats in the water were used for rescuing Utah survivors.
At about 0840 fire was opened with the 3" on a large group of planes at about 10,000 feet altitude flying over the clouds from the North toward Hickam Field. Their track was to the east of NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Sight was lost of these planes as they passed over the smoke from the burning ships on the South side of NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. These planes apparently took a sweep out to sea, losing altitude, and made a glide bombing attack on the Navy Yard and the ships around NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii because shortly thereafter the Tangier was attacked by glide bombers coming in from the direction of Honolulu and the Navy Yard. At least six single engine low wing monoplanes either bombed or strafed the Tangier during the next ten minutes. Of these planes, one had its tail shot off by the 3" battery and landed in the water near the beach astern of the Curtiss, one was set on fire by machine gun fire and crashed into the Curtiss, one was shot down by machine gun fire and crashed in the water near the Pan American dock at Pearl City, and a fourth as seen to crash in the cane field on Waipio Peninsula. One bomb struck near the port quarter but did not explode until it hit the bottom, another just missed the bow, and a third landed on NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Nothing but superficial damage was done to the ship from these bombs. Several other planes were turned back from the volume fire put out by the Tangier.
The 3" battery also took under fire at this time a squadron of horizontal bombers flying at about 12,000 feet altitude from the south to north. These planes dropped their bombs on Waipio Peninsula about opposite the west end of NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
After this attack no other hostile aircraft came within gun range although the ship remained at General Quarters the rest of the day and all that night.
The one utility plane on board and the airplane crash boat were hoisted out immediately after the glide bomber attack to reduce the fire hazard as both contained gasoline. The plane was sent to the Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, and the airplane crash boat was tied up at berth F-9 which was empty.
Inasmuch as the officers and men of the Tangier had never had the opportunity to fire the ship's guns except for test firing I think their performance on Sunday was one of the bright spots of a very sad day. I do not see how any one of them could have done his job better than he did, and that individually and collectively they should be commended on their performance of duty and their preparation for battle. it is noted that there were no machine gun casualties and the only time the guns stopped firing was when their ammunition was expended. This speaks exceedingly well for the maintenance personnel on the machine guns and the ordnance gunner.
G.H. DE BAUN
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S.S. TANGIER (AV8) - December 11, 1941..." http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/logs/AV/av8-Pearl.html[10JAN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Tangier (AV-8)..." http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/auxil/av8.htm [04JAN2001]Circa Unknown
Displacement 11,760 Length 492'1", Beam 69'6", Draw 23'9", Speed 18.4 k, Complement 1,075, Armament 1 5", 4 3", 8 40mm, Class Tangier
The second Tangier was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 51) as Sea Arrow on 18 March 1939 at Oakland, Calif., by Moore Dry Dock Co., launched on 15 September 1939, sponsored by Mrs. Joseph R. Sheehan, renamed Tangier (AV-8) on 3 June 1940, acquired by the Navy on 8 July 1940; and commissioned in ordinary on that same day, Comdr. Clifton A. F. Sprague in command.
Tangier remained at Oakland for over a year, undergoing conversion to a seaplane tender. Finally, on 25 August 1941, she went into full commission and put to sea on her shakedown cruise. At the completion of shakedown training, she was assigned as tender to Patrol Wing (PatWing) 2, based in Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 3 November and moored abaft the former battleship Utah now serving as an antiaircraft training ship, AG-16. There, the seaplane tender spent the last month of peacetime caring for her brood of flying boats
At 0755 on the morning of 7 December 1941, the first of two waves of Japanese carrier-based planes swooped in on the U.S. Pacific Fleet, moored at Pearl Harbor. Tangier, still abaft Utah, was in the fight from the beginning. Her klaxon sounded general quarters three minutes later; and, by 0800, her antiaircraft batteries opened up on the swarm of "meatball"-emblazoned planes. During the ensuing melee, Tangier's gunners claimed three enemy planes and hits on a midget submarine which had penetrated the harbor's defenses. She and her sister seaplane tender, Curtiss (AV-4), shelled the submarine, but destroyer Monaghan (DD-354) finished it off with a two-pronged attack, subjecting it to a ramming and following up with a cascade of depth charges. By 0920, the skies were clear of planes, but smoke from the burning ships and shore installations remained. Tangier began rescuing survivors from the capsized Utah.
During the next few days, it became apparent that the Japanese would soon attempt a landing on Wake Island, a desolate speck in the ocean but a strategic American outpost located almost astride the 20th parallel, some two-thirds of the way from Oahu and Guam and almost due north of the Marshall Islands. By mid December, the seaplane tender was loaded with supplies, ammunition, and equipment for the desperate but thus far victorious defenders of Wake Island. Then she rode idly at anchor for two days while Saratoga (CV-3), the carrier around which the Wake relief force was to be built, steamed to Pearl from San Diego. "Sara" entered Pearl Harbor on 15 December, and Tangier departed the same afternoon in company with Neches (AO-5) and a destroyer division while the carrier refueled. Saratoga caught up to the slow-moving little convoy on the 17th, and the task force advanced on Wake.
At this point, Admiral Kimmel was replaced by Admiral Nimitz as Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet. It was an unfortunate time to make such a change for, in the space of time it took Nimitz to make it from Washington to Pearl Harbor, confusion and indecision reigned in the Pacific. The immediate result was a failure to press home the relief expedition, and this unfortunate combination of circumstances caused the loss of Wake Island and its gallant garrison. On 23 December, after a three-day struggle against overwhelming odds, the defenders succumbed. The relief expedition was ordered back to Oahu. Tangier sailed via Midway Island, where she disembarked the men and equipment of Marine Fighting Squadron 221 to bolster that island's defenses and embarked civilian evacuees. The seaplane tender returned to Pearl Harbor on the last day of 1941.
On 11 February 1942, Tangier put to sea again and headed, via Pago Pago and Suva, to New Caledonia. She arrived in Noumea on 3 March and relieved Curtiss (AV-4) as tender for six flying boats. For the next three and one-half months, she performed routine tender services for PBY's flying long-range searches to the north of New Caledonia, almost as far as the lower Solomons. Between late April and early May, her brood of seaplanes was increased to 12 in anticipation of a fleet action in the Coral Sea. When the battle came to pass, however, her amphibians had to content themselves with rescuing survivors of Sims (DD-409) and Neosho (AO-23), sunk on 7 May by the Japanese who mistook them for a cruiser and carrier, respectively, and of the torpedoed Greek freighter SS Chloe. The search continued until 13 May, days after the end of the crucial battle. Coral Sea was a tactical victory for the Japanese (the U.S. Navy lost more tonnage) but a strategic victory for the United States. It stopped the southward advance of the "Rising Sun" and set the stage for the American victory in the Battle of Midway by temporarily robbing the Japanese of two of their newest fleet carriers Shokoku and Zuikaku. Shokaku was incapacitated by battle damage, and Zuikaku lost a high percentage of her veteran aviators.
After their rescue operations for survivors of Allied ships lost in the Coral Sea action, Tangier's planes resumed normal search operations. On 30 May, two of her seaplanes were forced down at sea by fuel shortage, and a third crashed near Mare Island in the Loyalty group. Destroyer Meredith (DD-434) went out to aid the two planes. One was refueled and returned safely, but the other could not take off and had to be sunk. The crew of the third plane reached safety at Mare Island. On 20 June, Tangier was relieved by Curtiss and, the following day, got underway for the west coast. She reached Pearl Harbor on Independence Day 1942 and stood out again three days later. On the 15th, she arrived in San Francisco and immediately began overhaul.
Tangier completed overhaul in September and, after loading aviation equipment at the Alameda Naval Air Station, departed San Francisco for Pearl Harbor, Suva, and ultimately Espiritu Santo, where she arrived on 29 February 1943. There she unloaded her stores and commenced tending seaplanes. She continued routine operations until 12 August, when she got underway for Pearl Harbor. Tangier made Oahu on the 28th. During September and October, she made two voyages from Pearl Harbor to American Samoa and one to San Diego, before returning to Espiritu Santo on 6 November with a load of aviation cargo. On the 14th, she headed back to the United States, arriving in San Diego on 3 December for another yard overhaul.
On 21 February 1944, the seaplane tender headed west again. She reached Espiritu Santo on 8 March and, after a four-day layover, continued on to Naval Seaplane Base Brisbane, Australia, where she became the flagship of the Commander, Aircraft, 7th Fleet, on 21 March. Two days later, she headed north to support General MacArthur's advance up the back of the New Guinea "bird." After stops at Milne Bay and Langemak Bay, she dropped anchor in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, on 31 March. She remained there for three months, tending her Catalinas as they supported the landings at Wakde, Noemfoor, and Biak and generally supported the 7th Fleet's advance. On 31 July, she moved to Woendi Anchorage located just off Biak, at the head of the New Guinea "bird." Tangier conducted seaplane operations from there until 19 September, when she got underway for Morotai. The tender arrived off Morotai on the 21st and supported the invasion, undergoing intermittent air attacks, until 1 December, when she headed back to Manus. She anchored in Seeadler Harbor again on 6 December. Tangier visited Woendi again on 22 and 23 December, then sailed for the Philippines. She entered Kossol Roads, in the Palaus, on Christmas Day and departed again the following day. On 29 December, she arrived in San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, and began operating her seaplanes from there. For almost a month, her charges supported various operations in the Philippines. These included the Lingayen invasion and air strikes on the numerous smaller islands of the archipelago. In fact, their primary mission appears to have been air-sea rescue work in support of the air strikes.
On 24 January 1945, Tangier departed Leyte and headed for Lingayen Gulf, arriving three days later. Her Catalinas and Mariners conducted night barrier patrols of Luzon Strait and the South China Sea along with night searches and antishipping flights along the China coast in the vicinity of Formosa. On 12 February, the seaplane tender moved to Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, to run day searches over the South China Sea as far north as the coast of French Indochina and Hainan Island. She concluded operations from Mangarin Bay on 7 March and headed for Subic Bay, Luzon. She arrived there on the following day and departed on the 11 th. Tangier anchored in Cabalitian Bay, off Cabalitian Island, on the 12th and commenced seaplane operations. For the next three months, her planes flew searches and antishipping missions over the South China Sea in the direction of Hong Kong, Swatow, and Formosa.
The seaplane tender exited Cabalitian Bay on 17 June and arrived in Subic Bay the following day. Soon thereafter, she moved to Manila Bay, departing there on 25 June. On the 27th, she stopped at San Pedro Bay then continued east toward the United States. She reached Pearl Harbor on 10 July and San Francisco on 20 July. She was overhauled at the Moore Dry Dock Co. and then ordered back to the Far East for occupation duty. On 24 September, she exited San Francisco and headed back across the broad Pacific. Sailing via Adak, Alaska, she reached the vicinity of Yokosuka during the second week in October. After two months of occupation duty in Japan, Tangier moved to Kowloon Bay, China, in December for air-sea rescue, patrol, and courier duty. In January 1946, she returned to Japan for another brief tour of duty with the occupation forces. Late in February, she moved from Sasebo to Okinawa, where she remained until late March.
On the 22d, Tangier set sail for the United States. She made a brief visit to Pearl Harbor in early April and transited the Panama Canal in mid-month. She reached Norfolk, Va., on the 29th and Philadelphia, Pa., on 1 May. Following a short voyage back to Norfolk and to Yorktown, Va. the seaplane tender returned to Philadelphia on 11 May to prepare for inactivation. By January 1947, Tangier was out of commission, berthed with the Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia. On 1 June 1961, her name was struck from the Navy List, and, on 17 November 1961, she was sold to the Union Minerals & Alloys Corp. for scrapping.
Tangier earned three battle stars during World War II.
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A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Coos Bay (AVP 25) and USS Tangier (AV-8) "...USS COOS BAY (AVP 25) and USS TANGIER (AV 8) at anchor in Ominato Bay, Japan in October 1945..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller email@example.com [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: [28MAY2001]
"USS Tangier (AV-8) Summary Page"